that can't be missed.

Judd sought out this dark-comedy role of a lifetime. He pictured himself starting up friendships with Johny Depp, Tim Burton, Lynch and the likes. Instead he got the ever-coveted Bill Paxton friendship that, at best, might get him a supporting role in Boxing Helena 2.

Did you ever hear that Hanson song "Weird"?
I believe that this motion picture was inspired buy that haunting, but poignant melody (Yes, I know that the song was written 10 years after this movie was made but isn't that weird as well?
)

THE DARK BACKWARD
1991
Starring: Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton Director: Adam Rifkin

Oh, how I've looked forward to this review! I've always considered myself a connoisseur of low budget alterna-flicks and dark comedies. So when a movie comes along with the goal to be "weird" and a cast of "norms", my world is entirely validated.

Norm, Judd Nelson, plays Marty Mall, bad comic/ garbage man/ nerdy loser/ human oddity/ boyfriend to Lara Flynn Boyle.... hold on a second, are they going to try and slip that one by us? There's even a spot in this film when a sexy nurse with a huge chest corners Marty and tries to molest him, but because he's so "nerdy" he resists and fights to get away. I never understood this angle in movies. Beautiful girl is coming on so strong that the nerds can't handle it? Paaaah-ah-leeeezzze!

So anyway, (I'm getting sidetracked) Marty Mall is an unfunny stand-up comic who repeatedly bombs on stage. This premise does not work... it never works! Bad comedy is only entertaining when it's real. And Judd Nelson make-believing to be a bad comic is a sorry sight indeed. It's a shame to see another Breakfast Club alumni come crashing down in flames on Normal Bob's Top 10 Worst.

Marty and his roommate (Bill Paxton) are garbage men. Very bad garbage men. They throw stuff everywhere and spill garbage in the street. This movie even had the nerve to do the ol' "throw- garbage- out- of- camera- shot- hear- window- crash- followed- by- cat- scream". Wow, the writers did overtime with that shenanigan.

Early on, Marty discovers a bump growing out of his back. Slowly this bump develops into a baby's arm then into a full grown adult size arm (with hand). There is a priceless scene here when he first discovers the arm and he begins running around his apartment trying to escape the limb. It is a terribly overdone slapstick piece set to the tune of circus music. It's sped up and shot with the always weird bubble lens. Definitely the most humiliating scene since Pia Zadora's garden hose rape in The Lonely Lady.

Throughout this movie the director bombards us with a slew of characters that he considers weird and original. For example, another act at the theater is a woman in a Viking helmet singing opera and playing a xylophone of midgets, bonking them on their heads with hammers. I find Hollywood's idea of "bizarre" fascinating. Judd's idea of "bizarre" is just as original. He greased down his hair (like nerds do) horn rimmed glasses (like a nerd's) and hunched shoulders (which looks so unnatural). Oh yeah, and he's dressed in an oversized brown leisure suit. Yup, your classic weirdo.

So after much fuss, Marty and his roommate incorporate his freakish third arm into his bad stand-up act. Hooray. More bad comedy. The movie returns to this dry well again and again.

Soon he is discovered and is offered a big Hollywood contract. They pack up their suitcases for California. They only pack two things; A suit jacket and a giant, metal Tonka truck. Golly, that's just too wacky for even me.

The next morning the arm is gone with no explanation whatsoever and subsequently his career is finished before it even got started. Marty is abandoned by everyone.
The least the director could have done was leave us with a "I'm glad this movie left him to suffer" ending. But no, Marty finds success on the stage telling the tale of his third arm and the twisted, wacky stories of his kooky existence.

Sure, everyone's career has to end sometime. Just pray that it's not standing on a stage with your pants around the ankles while everyone points and laughs at you.


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